What is Anti-Freeze and What Does it Do?

January 3rd, 2013 by

anti-freezeI know that when I was a teenager with my first car, well, I certainly didn’t much know or care what anti-freeze was. It took multiple incidents of my engine overheating before I started to become a bit more friendly with my old car’s coolant system. Anti-freeze is a pretty handy chemical, though exactly what it does and how it does it seems to escape many drivers.

Read on and learn more about what keeps your car cool on those hot summer days.

Why is it Called Anti-Freeze?

Now, that might seem like a dumb question at first. It’s called “anti-freeze” because it doesn’t freeze. End of story, right? But now ask yourself why you would want something that can’t freeze keeping your engine cold. It seems at least a little counterintuitive at first, doesn’t it?

The fact is, though, that the goal isn’t to keep your engine from getting warm, but rather to keep it from getting too warm. By having a nice, thick liquid that you can run through your engine, absorb heat, and then dissipate it, the engine will keep running as intended, rather than getting to temperatures that can cause serious damage.

So, why is it important that it doesn’t freeze? Well, that depends on your climate more than anything else. Around here in Orange County, when the winters routinely drop below freezing, water-cooling our cars just doesn’t work; water would freeze, expand, and then destroy important parts of your engine. Our service experts have seen it happen from drivers who had been using water in the summer months and forgot to switch over; it isn’t a pretty sight.

Diluting with Water?

I can imagine you scratching your head about now, remembering that you’re often told to dilute anti-freeze with water. Common sense tells you that this would not be a wise idea after what I just said about the dangers of it freezing, so what’s going on?

In this case, it’s that common sense is just wrong. By adding water to coolant, you are actually able to both reduce its freezing temperature and increase the amount of heat it can carry away from your engine, a win-win. Although the ideal ratio isn’t 50/50, it’s good enough for almost all vehicles and is easy enough that we recommend it to drivers handling their own auto maintenance.

Keep Cool with Middletown Honda

While it’s possible to handle your own coolant maintenance at home, if you’re experiencing coolant troubles or a leak or you just want to leave it to a professional, our service center will be more than happy to help. Schedule an appointment at Middletown Honda today. We can’t wait to see you.